The climate of Crete is temperate and is regarded as one of Europe's finest, livelier and healthiest. A factor that plays a key role in shaping the climate is the sea that surrounds the island and limits the intensity of the sun in the summer. Sunshine covers 80% of the days of the year. The climate is indicative of the fact that in southern Crete and Gavdos swallows remain all year long, without migrating to Africa.
In the spring
the temperatures range from 16 to 20 degrees Celsius, the rainy days are not missing but the sea temperature rises gradually. Crete receives a southern wave of hot air from North Africa, mainly from the Libyan desert. These dry and windy days are unusually warm for the season and somewhat unpredictable, but they only lasts a couple of days. Spring is the most beautiful time in Crete, as the countryside is green and blooming.
During the summer
, the average temperatures range from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius, with peak temperatures reaching 30 to 40 degrees Celsius. Even in the months of July and August, with the highest temperatures, northwest winds, meltemia, mitigate the warm atmosphere. Occasionally, powerful south winds increase the average temperature. Rainfalls are rare during the summer.Autumn
is the milder and for many their favorite season in Crete, because temperatures are often higher than in the spring. In October it rarely rains, the weather is warm and the sea swimming pleasand.
is quite mild and tolerable with many rainfall especially in the western parts of the island. Snowfall is very common in the mountains between November and May, but almost non-existent in the lowlands, especially near the coast where the snow remains for only a few minutes or hours. The rainfall period begins in late October and lasts until March or even April.
There are significant climatic differences between the coastal and inland zones as well as between the northern and southern parts of the island. The eastern part of Crete (Sitia) is warmer than the western one. The southern part of the island is warmer than the northern. Western Crete (Chania Prefecture) has more vegetation. In the mountainous regions the weather is cooler.